For the past three and a half years, I have been doing good work for a good organization. The work has been fulfilling and impactful, the people have been friendly and inspiring, and the projects have been challenging but achievable.
Everything was in its place: I had a good job with a decent salary and benefits, I loved my coworkers, I got to sit in heritage building with exposed brick and massive windows every day, and I did work that made a tangible difference in the quality of the lives of the people in this province. Perhaps most importantly, I was really, really good at my job.
A few weeks ago, I left that job for something new.
(I haven’t left forever; instead, I am taking a short-term leave from my long term job to take on a new challenge for six months. While I do expect to return to my previous workplace after this short leave, my future plans still haven’t been set in stone.)
A few people have asked me—I’ve asked myself these questions too, often, over the past few weeks—why I would leave a stable, secure job doing work that I loved, for a new, precarious, short-term contract that didn’t have a defined set of expectations and deliverables. They’ve asked why I would leave a gorgeous glass and brick building for a somewhat stolid concrete one, and why I would leave the flexibility of a small nonprofit for the slowness and resistance-to-change of a large, public-sector bureaucracy.
Two days before I started my new job, M.G. Siegler wrote a short post about Robert Frank and Miles Davis and trying new things. In it, he wrote:
“It’s both easy to keep doing what you’re good at and terrifying to leave. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s the right call to try something new.”
To all those questions that people ask me, to the questions I ask myself, this is the answer I give: sometimes, just sometimes, it’s the right call to try something new.
I was good at my job. It was fulfilling and comfortable, and the thought of leaving it was terrifying. When this new opportunity came up, when I was asked to think about accepting a short-term challenge of trying to create meaningful organizational change in government, it would have been easy to say no, to keep doing what I was good at and not take the chance.
But sometimes, it’s the right call to try something new.
This was an opportunity that I could not let pass. It was an opportunity to do work that I had dreamed of doing for years, and to test my skills and experience in an environment which wasn’t necessarily ready to embrace the kind of change I am hoping to help bring. It was an opportunity to work with people who had a vision, and to help them bring that vision to reality.
The decision to leave was terrifying and not easy, but I felt as though it was the right call.
Just about one month into that decision, I’m sure that it was, in fact, the right one to make. Nothing about it is easy, but I am learning, pushing myself, and doing work that matters. It is different and challenging, but fulfilling, and every day I’m reminded that sometimes, just sometimes, it’s the right call to try something new.